Posts Tagged ‘21st Century education’

It’s nearly two years since I first learned about the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’ and discovered an incredible website called Kickstarter.   As tends to happen on my many learning journeys, I delved a little into the whole processes and ended up blogging about it on my other blog NovaNews as a way of reflecting on my own understanding of the concept:

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects.  If you have an idea, develop it, but don’t have the money to manufacture and market it, then Kickstarter is a great platform from which to seek support.  Most of the projects I’ve looked at have created a video to demonstrate or explain their product.  With absolutely stacks and stacks of ideas sorted into clearly labelled categories, it’s possible to peruse and find an amazing range of ‘would be’ products.  In exchange for monetary backing, the products’ creators will reward  you with the supply of a part or all of the product.   With a minimum funding target set by the creators, many projects garner far more support well before the close date.

NovaNews: Introducing The Brydge on Kickstarter (May1, 2012)

So coming across an article on Slate: Eighth Graders Design and Build a School Library for the 21st Century  while catching up on some weekend reading, I was taken by surprise to not only read about the ingenuity of such young students, but was taken aback to discover that they are crowdsourcing funds to help make their plans come true!   To share their ideas, they  have put together an impressive video on none other than Kickstarter.  Great stuff!

X–SPACE: A Library Designed and Built By Its Students

X–SPACE: A Library Designed and Built By Its Students

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The Hunt Library at North Carolina State University, opened in January of this year, is a state of the art library incorporating design and ideas that challenge current thinking about the purpose of libraries in the 21st Century.

Aiming to encourage creativity and collaboration the library incorporates a mind blowing range of incredible spaces including a gaming lab, a creative studio with floor-to-ceiling projector screen and makerspaces fitted out with 3D printers. The library is replete with glass surfaces – walls and tables – on which students are free to write, to discuss to exchange and explore ideas. White boards abound allowing students to teach and learn from each other. The incredible range and variety of spaces which include 80 different kinds of chairs are intended to inspire and engage students.

Not forgotten though are the books that normally sustain the main purpose of a library. Instead of traditional shelving though, books at The Hunt Library are stored 6 metres below the first floor where two million volumes are packed into a fraction of the space that conventional shelving would occupy. Browsing the collection on the digital catalogue students’ book selections are delivered within five minutes by BookBot, a robotic system.

Describing the design and nature of Hunt Library in an article, The University library of the future, Erin Millar summarises the words of Martha Whitehead, Head Librarian at Queens University, saying:

The primary function of libraries continues to be finding information; what has changed is the nature of the questions being asked. Students used to come to libraries to find what Whitehead calls “quick facts” (easily looked up now online) but now they come with complex inquiries. They want to know what type of information exists on a topic and how their own work fits into the scholarly literature landscape. This shift reflects how universities have changed teaching to better prepare students for the 21st century, Whitehead says.

“It’s less about the instructor imparting information to the student than about the skill set to be a lifelong learner — how to think, how to inquire and how to learn.”

This video describing the design and features of Hunt Library certainly poses much food for thought, not only on the direction of libraries of the future, but on how our current libraries can be re-thought to be more appealing to our student population.

Anyone reading care to give it a go?

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